Lambton schools to continue remote learning amid COVID-19 pandemic: province

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Over 100,000 Ontario students will be allowed to return to in-person learning starting next week, but students in Sarnia-Lambton will continue studying remotely.

The province said late Wednesday some students can go back to physical classrooms based on the health units they’re located in. But Lambton was not included in the list, so students in St. Clair Catholic District and Lambton Kent District school board schools will continue learning online.

A spokesperson with the Lambton Kent board said the province hasn’t given them a date for when in-person learning is expected to continue locally.

“We will share this information once it is available,” the spokesperson said, adding the board’s virtual learn-at-home schools will continue to operate on their regular schedules.

Local COVID-19 figures have been spiking since mid-December. There were 45 more confirmed cases in Sarnia-Lambton Thursday for a total of 1,730 after Lambton public health released its online report. The number of active cases climbed 12 to 214 while the amount of resolved cases climbed 33 to 1,483.

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The number of active outbreaks fell one to 12. The updated figures weren’t immediately available, but ten were in local long-term care and retirement homes as of Wednesday. Village on the St. Clair in Sarnia had the highest numbers with 25 residents and 10 staff infected along with two deaths. Twin Lakes Terrace long-term care home had 20 cases – 16 residents – and one death. Vision retirement home had 18 cases, 16 of them residents.

An outbreak was also ongoing at the Sarnia Jail, where four staff tested positive, and at two unnamed local workplaces.

The region’s incidence rate for the period of Jan. 10-16 was 289 per 100,000 people, with 4.5 per cent of tests coming back positive. It was 6.2 per cent the previous week.

A total of 33 Sarnia-Lambton residents have died from the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Bluewater Health reported 13 COVID-19-positive patients in hospital Thursday, three more than the previous day.

Lambton’s medical officer of health offered some insight Wednesday into how the COVID-19 vaccine will be rolled out locally when it finally arrives in the region.

The Ontario-wide lockdown and stay-at-home orders were extended another 30 days this past weekend by the province.

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